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Transcript of interview with Carrie Townley Porter by Claytee D. White, February 7, 2006


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Carrie Townley Porter, a 6th generation Texan, was born in Central Texas near present-day Fort Hood. Her father, a highway patrolman, was called into the Army Reserve in 1940 and spent some years moving around the country. At one point, his wife and children stayed in Belton, Texas tor three years because her father was transferred to places they couldn't go. Carrie finished high school in Austin, Texas, and attended two years at University of Texas in Austin. She left college to get married, and she and her geologist husband lived in Kansas, Oklahoma City, and Albuquerque. He took a job with the Atomic Energy Commission that required frequent trips to the Nevada Test Site, so the suggestion was made that they just move to Las Vegas. At this point they had three children with no reliable child care so Carrie became a housewife for a while. The Townleys lived a full and active life in Las Vegas and she eventually got hired as a substitute teacher. Carrie mostly subbed at Gibson Junior High School. She decided to finish her degree at Nevada Southern University (now UNLV) after her principal told her that if she could do that, he would have a job waiting for her. Several of the courses that Carrie took were Nevada history correspondence courses from UNR. These courses were prepared and graded by Dr. Russell Elliott. Carrie also fondly remembers two Nevada Southern history professors in particular, Dr. John Wright, whom she considered a mentor, and Rosemary Masick, who taught English history. After receiving her bachelor's, Carrie returned to teaching math at Gibson Jr. High. She started an archaeology club on her own and she and Russ Elliott started the first Trailblazer Club (junior history) in the state. She got students involved in the history of the Native Americans in the area and took them on field trips which gave them a chance to participate in a dig. Carrie has worked in Special Collections in the UNLV library as an archivist, with Sierra Pacific Power Company as a records analyst, and at Caesar's Tahoe as records administrator. She has also been very deeply involved with the Nevada Women's History Project since 1994. This group was responsible for the Sarah Winnemucca Statue Project, which placed a statue of this Native American in Washington, D.C., and a copy of it in the capitol building in Carson City. Today Carrie is doing a collaborative book on Helen J. Stewart with Sally Zanjani. She has done extensive research on Helen Stewart's life, and to this day makes "living history" presentations dressed as Helen J. Stewart. In addition to her history commitments, Carrie still holds onto her records management consulting firm, which she started in 1985.

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Carrie Townley Porter oral history interview, 2006 February 07. OH-01493. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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An Interview with Carrie Townley Porter An Oral History Conducted by Claytee D. White The UNLV @ Fifty Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas 2007 ©UNLV@ FIFTY Oral History Pro